Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Glaeser's Output Keeps Rising

Ed Glaeser is a productive man. Here is his new Editorial in the LA Times. I am familiar with the subject. If you'd like to read our academic paper on this subject then go to Glaeser/Kahn paper .

One valid criticism of this work is that we need to factor in the carbon content of shipping water to thirsty California cities. Currently the pricing (at a penny a gallon or less) is so crazy that this encourages waste. This energy/water footprint would be much smaller under "sensible" pricing.


Anonymous said...

Looking at table 5 of your paper with Ed Glaeser, LA seems to be a bit of a data outlier. Specifically the suburban areas seem to have smaller footprint than the urban areas. If I am reading your chart correctly, emissions from autos are higher in the suburbs, but emmissions from mass transit, from better insulation and from cleaner power are better in the burbs, with the primary drivers being electricity generation.

Is the big problem DWP's reliance on coal from places like Utah or it something else like water useage that is included in that figure?

Anonymous said...

That is all well and good but he is only considering household type usage. If we consider the total energy use in cities, is it still less than the suburbs?

Also we know that people in the suburbs use mor energy for transportation, but this is mostly because they drive larger vehicles, not because they drive that much more. Likewise they have larger homes which cost more to heat.

How much of this is a matter of income and choice rather than a matter of location?

I imagine tha cities have a lot of "communal use" of power that does not show in his study: advertising, street lighting, parking garages, lobbies, elevators and escalators and so on where these would simply be dark spaces in the countryside.


Salamander said...

I wonder at the carbon costs of shipping especially food, but also consumer goods, to urban areas. It would seem necessary to account for the increased carbon output shipping food to the urban center if new development on the edge eats up farmland and increases shipping distances. As an example, how much should the carbon cost of shipping oranges to Los Angeles from Temecula instead of Orange County impact the calculation of carbon emissions for new developments in Orange County? Are they sizable enough to matter?

Anonymous said...

It is my unerstanding that the single largest thing an indvidual can do to affect gGHG production is to shift to a vegetarian diet. This factor dwarfs even bad driving habits and large homes.

Better still is a locally grown vegetarian diet, but I wouldn't hold my breath that this is going to happen.

For production reasons almost all of our fruits and vegetables are grown on only 2.5% of the land, and this is supplemented by "off season" land used in Chile and other places. That being the case, whther you ship from Fernandino valley to Iowa or Indiana makes not much difference.

it is hard for me to imagine that cities are not huge energy sinks, if you consider them at a system level rather than just household fule and electricity use.